Oxidative stress in brain during experimental bacterial meningitis: differential effects of alpha-phenyl-tert-butyl nitrone and N-acetylcysteine treatment

Christen, Stephan; Schaper, Manuela; Lykkesfeldt, Jens; Siegenthaler, Corinne; Bifrare, Yoeng-Delphine; Banic, Staša; Leib, Stephen L.; Täuber, Martin G. (2001). Oxidative stress in brain during experimental bacterial meningitis: differential effects of alpha-phenyl-tert-butyl nitrone and N-acetylcysteine treatment. Free radical biology & medicine, 31(6), pp. 754-762. San Diego, Calif.: Elsevier 10.1016/S0891-5849(01)00642-6

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Antioxidant treatment has previously been shown to be neuroprotective in experimental bacterial meningitis. To obtain quantitative evidence for oxidative stress in this disease, we measured the major brain antioxidants ascorbate and reduced glutathione, and the lipid peroxidation endproduct malondialdehyde in the cortex of infant rats infected with Streptococcus pneumoniae. Cortical levels of the two antioxidants were markedly decreased 22 h after infection, when animals were severely ill. Total pyridine nucleotide levels in the cortex were unaltered, suggesting that the loss of the two antioxidants was not due to cell necrosis. Bacterial meningitis was accompanied by a moderate, significant increase in cortical malondialdehyde. While treatment with either of the antioxidants alpha-phenyl-tert-butyl nitrone or N-acetylcysteine significantly inhibited this increase, only the former attenuated the loss of endogenous antioxidants. Cerebrospinal fluid bacterial titer, nitrite and nitrate levels, and myeloperoxidase activity at 18 h after infection were unaffected by antioxidant treatment, suggesting that they acted by mechanisms other than modulation of inflammation. The results demonstrate that bacterial meningitis is accompanied by oxidative stress in the brain parenchyma. Furthermore, increased cortical lipid peroxidation does not appear to be the result of parenchymal oxidative stress, because it was prevented by NAC, which had no effect on the loss of brain antioxidants.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Service Sector > Institute for Infectious Diseases

UniBE Contributor:

Christen, Stephan; Leib, Stephen and Täuber, Martin G.


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health










Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 14:56

Last Modified:

07 Dec 2014 14:05

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Web of Science ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Inflammation, Oxidative stress, Lipid peroxidation, Neuronal injury, Ascorbate, Glutathione, α-Phenyl-tert-butyl nitrone, N-Acetylcysteine, Free radicals




https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/23694 (FactScience: 43492)

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